Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Swim-A-Cross Memories

Some of my fondest memories from summers growing up in Austin, are from the swim team I would join & swim with for several weeks.  Yes, we learned new strokes & raced on the weekends, but our culminating event was to participate in the annual Swim-A-Cross fundraiser for the American Red Cross.  Now that I work for the American Red Cross, I can see the value of the event from another perspective.  Not only is the event a fun way to raise money, but it gives the children (and adults) in our community a different way to support both local & global concerns.  The funds raised through Swim-A-Cross help support local disaster relief (fires, floods) and military families in our community, but they can go on to help others around the country and around the world.  
If you enjoy swimming, or know someone who does, please consider registering for the event by yourself or with a swim team.  Contact Jewel Walker, or 512-929-1279 for more information.

- Lis Wise, Workplace Training Instructor


The American Red Cross of Central Texas is hosting its annual Heroes Celebration. On Thursday, April 14th, UT Longhorn Coach Mack Brown will be honored with the Lady Bird Johnson Humanitarian Awards. 

Join us for an old Hollywood soiree that will include both a live and silent auction. Items will include signed Round Rock Express memorabilia as well as a week’s stay at a condominium in Vancouver, Canada!

We urge you to obtain your tickets quickly.  Seats are limited! 

If you have any questions or would like additional information about the event please contact, Jessica Schlueter, Development and Communications Associate, at or 512-929-1227.

We hope you will join us at this celebration, and with your generous support we will help the American Red Cross of Central Texas turn compassion into action.


 Today at City Hall the Mayor officially announced “Serve Austin – A Call to Action.”  This is Austin’s own “Cities of Service” initiative which will help thousands of volunteers make a difference in five key areas: Classroom Education, Fitness Education, Women Military Veteran Support, Health and Community Service Technology. 

Your American Red Cross, Austin Region is proud to be the lead partner in “Operation Outreach”, a program designed to proactively help female veterans with reintegration into civilian life and provide assistance for all issues they face upon return from military service. Over the next year, we will recruit and train 100 female veterans to reach out to their counterparts who may be struggling with issues as diverse as child care, post-traumatic stress disorders, or unemployment.  The volunteers will be armed with a guide to all the amazing resources our nonprofit, for profit and government agencies have to offer.  Our goal is to reach the veterans before they are in crisis by contacting them on a regular basis and encouraging them to seek help earlier.

This program is a perfect fit for the American Red Cross because volunteers are the heart of all we do and service to the military has been embedded in us from the beginning of our history.  We are excited at the opportunity to partner with both the City of Austin and all the organizations who are already working so hard to help our American heroes.  Watch for updates over the next few months as we build this program and serve those who have served us.

Marty McKellips

 CEO Marty McKellips pictured above at podium

Friday, March 25, 2011


Last night, Austinites gathered with H.E.A.T. Boot Camp at The Long Center for the Performing Arts and lit up the night while paying tribute to the victims of the  Japan earthquake and tsunami and raised over $4,000 for the American Red Cross which will go toward relief efforts.

Hundreds of attendees illuminated the Long Center with glow bracelets while performing a choreographed interactive movement experience which included a mix of simple exercise, dance, and yoga led by Austin's top trainers and yoga instructors.  The performance ended with attendees forming a Japanese flag with red and white glow sticks and honoring those throughout the Pacific who were affected with a moment of silence.

It was a truly moving experience to see the Austin community come together in such a creative way to help those half a world away.  We are so lucky to be a part of this amazing Austin community and have such wonderful partners like Cody Butler and the rest of the H.E.A.T. Boot Camp team!

You can see more pictures of this event on the H.E.A.T. Boot Camp Facebook page here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Come join the American Red Cross of Central Texas as we hold silent auction! The auction, in conjunction with Tyson Sports, will be held Tuesday, March 29, 2011, from 10:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Lobby of the 100 Congress Avenue building.  

The auction will include certified sports memorabilia from both college and professional teams and 50% of the proceeds will benefit your local chapter.  So come by and buy your items from your favorite team! 

Please contact Jessica Schlueter at or 512-929-1227 if you have an questions about the auction.

We hope to see you there!  


The American Red Cross of Central Texas is hosting its annual Heroes Celebration dinner and auction at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, 2011, at the downtown Truluck’s Seafood, Steak and Crab House.  Heroes Celebration Chair Barbara Allen and American Red Cross of Central Texas Chair Stacy Allen invite you to this magnificent and meaningful event.  The soiree will honor Texas Longhorns Football Coach Mack Brown, our Lady Bird Johnson Humanitarian of the Year.  This year we are also celebrating our chapter’s 95th anniversary.  There is no better way to celebrate a triumph like this than to attend this black tie to blue jeans event that will bring us back to the Old Hollywood days of grandeur and elegance.

We urge you to obtain your sponsorship quickly.  Seats are limited!  We are also accepting fabulous in-kind donations for our silent and live auctions!

If you have any questions or would like additional information about the event please contact, Jessica Schlueter, Development and Communications Associate, at or 512-929-1227.

We hope you will join us at this celebration, and with your generous support we will help the American Red Cross of Central Texas turn compassion into action.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


March is Red Cross Month and the American Red Cross is asking you to join us in providing help and hope to people in need.

The Red Cross works tirelessly to help those who need assistance, whether down the street, across the country, or around the world. We respond to disasters, help members of the military, provide blood for those in need and teach lifesaving skills.

When you help with a gift of your time, your blood donation, or your financial gift, you join the Red Cross. We want to thank those supporters whose generosity helps ensure we are able to continue our service to those who need us. Thanks to them, the Red Cross is there when needed most.

Since the beginning of the year, the American Red Cross of Central Texas responded to 40 local emergencies and assisted close to 160 people.

Nationally, the Red Cross responds to disasters nearly 200 times every day. The organization provides a round-the-clock link between those in the military and their families, and supplies blood and blood products to approximately 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

Red Cross Month is a great time for people to join the Red Cross. Sign up to be one of our volunteers. Please take one of our lifesaving training classes. Please give a financial gift. Please join us, and enable us to continue our work, both here at home, and around the world.


Marty McKellips
Chief Executive Officer
American Red Cross of Central Texas 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

SXSW Cares

Who would have thought my job and love of music would collide?  Not me.  I had the privilege moments ago of being back stage at Auditorium Shores with my favorite band, Bright Eyes, and then went on stage in front of thousands of music fans to talk about the American Red Cross and the fact that we were there collecting donations for the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.  The response from all the music fans was indescribable.  A friend of mine called me as soon as I left the stage and said I did a wonderful job of connecting with the crowd.  Honestly I was grateful to just be breathing when I walked off the stage.  I can’t believe that I am lucky enough to work for an organization that has such an amazing mission!

If you would want to help by making a donation you can:
  • Donate online at
  • Make a $10 donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999
-Stephanie Cosmas

Friday, March 18, 2011

Preparedness & the Dr. Carol Show

Yesterday I was a guest on the Dr. Carol Show (KLGO 98.5/99.3) and was given the opportunity to discuss our local chapter and our organizations response to the recent earthquake and pacific tsunami.  It’s important to prepare for
possible disasters and other emergencies. Natural and human caused disasters can strike suddenly,
at anytime and anywhere. There are three actions everyone can take that can helpmake a difference:
  • Get a Kit
  • Make a Plan 
  • Be Informed
Check out our Be Red Cross Ready fact sheet here.

Our hearts go out to the people of Japan and the other survivors of the earthquake and tsunami.  The Japanese Red cross is extremely grateful for the financial assistance being provided by the American people and the American Red Cross.  During times of disaster, unfortunately, there will be individuals who will try and take advantage of your good will.  Please only donate to reputable organizations and check them out if you have any questions.  If you are asked to make a donation on behalf of the American Red Cross and you are the least bit suspicious please give us a call and we can verify if the fundraiser is legitimate.  We take your donor dollars very seriously and take great measures to protect you and ensure the funds get to where they need to go.

If you want to listen to the content of the show and hear what we are doing at home and abroad click here.

Thank you to Dr. Carol and Al for having me on the show to share the mission of the American Red Cross.

-Denise Blok, Senior Director of Business Operations

Thursday, March 17, 2011


One of the best things about my job is that when a disaster occurs, here in central Texas or half way around the world, I know exactly how I can help.  I remember well that terrible day before I was a Red Crosser when the federal building in Oklahoma City was obliterated.  I am from Oklahoma and the feeling of panic and helplessness is one I will never forget.

So, I really do understand after some terrible event when hundreds or thousands of central Texans email, call or come by the chapter with one question, “How can I help?”  I know they are frustrated by not being able to jump in and hand out water and blankets or dig through the rubble to save survivors.   It is hard to explain that often an untrained and spontaneous volunteer will make the situation more complicated for the experts.  It isn’t easy to learn that the used clothes you donated will sit in a warehouse and rot because the donation was not included in the logistical planning and there is no way to clean, store and transport them. 

 I want to encourage everyone to take steps now to reduce those helpless moments in your life because there is no feeling in the world more satisfying than knowing you have been of service to someone on the most terrible day of their life.  How?  Get trained and volunteer before something happens.  Take a first aid and CPR class.  Get trained to work in a shelter or do damage assessment after a flood or storm.  Help the Red Cross plan with government officials to be ready when disaster strikes.  It is simple and the disaster training is free and the money you pay for your CPR class is used to help in local disasters.

If you take these steps, the next time disaster strikes our community you won’t have that helpless feeling.  You’ll know exactly what to do.  Join the American Red Cross and part of the team.

For information on how to get trained and volunteer contact us at 512-928-4271 or visit our website

-Marty McKellips, CEO

Friday, March 11, 2011

International Disaster Inquiries for Japan

ICRC Family Links Website Available for Japan
 The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), working closely with the Japanese Red Cross, has launched a special Family Links website to help people seeking to re-establish contact with family members and friends.

People in Japan and abroad can register on the website to inform their family and friends that they are safe and provide their current contact details, while those looking for people can check the list for information. They can also register the names of family members and friends, encouraging them to get in touch.

The website is at

The Red Cross is still unable to accept International Disaster Inquiries for Japan. Please utilize the ICRC website and keep calling and trying to contact other family members who live in the region. Even though communication networks are overloaded right now, the situation may change and access to mobile networks and the internet may improve.

Other Family Linking Resources
  • The Google Person Finder site is available at:
  •  If you have the mobile phone number of your member in the affected areas, you may utilize the following services to check whether he/she has registered his/her message(s) on the service. Services are available in English and Japanse 
·         SoftBanK: 
Please note that when you enter the mobile phone number for search on the webpage, you should remove the country code 0081 and add 0 at the beginning.  For example, if you dial the number internationally as follows, 0081-90-8877-6655, enter it into the website as: 09088776655 (enter the number without any dashes).

US Citizens Living or Traveling in Japan
  • Inquiries concerning U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan should be referred to the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202 647-5225.

Inquiries Regarding US Military Stationed in Japan
The American Red Cross Safe and Well website has been updated to include the disaster dropdown “Japanese Earthquake.”  Military members can register themselves on the site as being safe and well and families of Military members stationed overseas can check to see if their loved ones are registered on the site: